If an emerging coalition to build a sustainable energy future succeeds in achieving its goals, “everyone in the world will have access to electricity,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim told members of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative’s Advisory Board, which held its inaugural meeting in Washington April 19.
“Power will come from cleaner sources,” he said. “Families will be spared the harmful effects of indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with wood and waste. People and firms all over will be using energy more responsibly and efficiently. Imagine that world. We have the incredible opportunity of making all this happen through our collective will and effort.”
Kim, who co-chairs the 34-member Advisory Board with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, also called on the Advisory Board members — leaders from private and public sectors, civil society and international organizations — “to find a way to hold our feet to the fire” in delivering on the SE4ALL objectives.
The initiative’s three objectives, to be achieved by 2030, are universal access to electricity and safe household fuels, double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency.
SE4ALL represents “a new era in World Bank — United Nations relations,” said Ban Ki-moon. This partnership between the two global institutions is “the cornerstone of SE4ALL,” he said, promising to mobilize their combined convening power to mobilize action.
The SE4ALL Advisory Board’s members include a head of state, President Olafur Ragnar Grímsson of Iceland, who cited his country’s evolution from a “developing country” of fisherman and farmers who transformed their nation into a “clean energy economy driven by economic motives” in which 100 percent of household electricity and heating is from clean sources.
While Iceland’s energy model is built on tapping its abundant subsoil geothermal resources, President Grímsson emphasized the “bottom-up” nature of its development, in which clean energy innovations were made “street by street, and village by village.”
Advisory Board members will provide strategic guidance and serve as global ambassadors for the initiative, conducting high-level advocacy for action on energy and mobilizing stakeholders on behalf of Sustainable Energy for All. Additional Advisory Board members will be announced after further consultations with stakeholders.
Also attending today’s meeting were members of the SE4ALL initiative’s 10-person Executive Committee, chaired by Chad Holliday, Chairman of Bank of America, as well as the initiative’s chief executive, Kandeh Yumkella, who was named to this post last September by the UN Secretary General.
Ban Ki-moon had launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative a year earlier, in September 2011. Since then it has developed action plans in over 40 of the more than 70 countries that have opted-in to the initiative. It has also defined a series of “high-impact opportunities” in which its partners will focus efforts; these include innovative financing for energy projects, clean cooking solutions, energy and women’s health, phasing out gas flaring, off-grid lighting, renewable energy procurement, and lighting and appliance efficiency.
This article was originally published on the World Bank and was republished with permission.